Saturday, 8 December 2007

Wie buchstabiert man das? How do you spell that?


Das Alphabet The Alphabet

The German alphabet, with approximate pronounciations, and the phonetic code from the Buchstabiertafel 
(used to avoid confusion on a bad phoneline):

- ah (!) - wie Anton - AHN-tone
- bay - wie Berta - BARE-tuh
- tsay - wie Cäsar - SAY-zar
- day - wie Dora - DORE-uh
- ay (!) - wie Emil - ay-MEAL
- eff - wie Friedrich - FREED-reech
- gay - wie Gustav - GOOS-tahf

- hah - wie Heinrich - HINE-reech
- ee (!) - wie Ida - EED-uh
- yot (!) - wie Julius - YUL-ee-oos
- kah - wie Kaufmann - KOWF-mann
- ell - wie Ludwig - LOOD-vig
- emm - wie Martha - MAR-tuh
- enn - wie Nordpol - NORT-pole
- oh - wie Otto - AHT-toe
- pay - wie Paula - POW-luh

- koo - wie Quelle - KVEL-uh
- air - wie Richard - REE-shart
- es - wie Siegfried - SEEG-freed
- tay - wie Theodor - TAY-oh-dore
- ooh - wie Ulrich - OOL-reech
- fow (!) - wie Viktor - VICK-tor
w - vay (!) - wie Wilhelm - VIL-helm

x - icks - wie Xanthippe - KSAN-tipp-uh
y - ipsilon (!) - wie Ypsilon - IPP-see-lohn
z - tset - wie Zeppelin - TSEP-puh-leen

ä - eh - wie Ärger - AIR-gehr
äu - oy
ö - er - wie Ökonom - UEH-ko-nome
ü - euh - wie Übermut - UEH-ber-moot

ß - ess = s tset or scharfes s

Ones to be careful of are marked with a !, as these sound like different letters in English, or vary greatly. The ordering and divisions in the un-accented letters are there to reflect the pauses in a well known spelling rhyme. In a dictionary, ä would come after a, ö after o, ü after u, and ß wouldn't have its own entry as there are no words that beign with it. (Note for trivia fans; there is no ß in a German Scrabble game, as all the letters on the tiles are upper case and ß is always lower case).

Note that 'umlaut' is a word invented by phoneticists to describe the letters with dots above them and is not used in common conversation; so if you are spelling out a word with an umlauted letter, you'd say e.g. for ä,  'eh'  not 'ah umlaut'.

The way to type the extra letters on a non-German keyboard is to hold down the 'alt' key and tap three digits on the number-pad according to the following table:

ß = ALT+225
Ä = ALT+142
ä = ALT+132
Ö = ALT+153
ö = ALT+148
Ü = ALT+154
ü = ALT+129

NB 'Num Lock' must be 'ON'.

I've created a pictorial alphabet on THIS (click here!) webpage

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would be delighted if you wish to leave a comment!
Comments are moderated so there might be a delay before they appear on my blog.